Fix External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on Mac

Having trouble with your external hard drive not showing up on your Mac? Let’s troubleshoot the issue and get it fixed.

Check Cable and Power Supply

Check cable and power supply

Check the cable and power supply for your external hard drive. Ensure that the USB cable is securely connected to both the hard drive and your Mac. If using a disk enclosure, make sure the power supply is functioning properly.

Try using a different USB port on your Mac to rule out any issues with the port itself. Sometimes a different port can make a difference in recognizing the external hard drive.

If possible, try using a different USB cable or power supply to see if that resolves the issue. A faulty cable or power supply could be the reason why the external hard drive is not showing up on your Mac.

If the external hard drive still does not show up after checking the cable and power supply, you may need to consider further troubleshooting steps to diagnose the issue.

Modify Finder Preferences

In the Finder Preferences window, click on the “General” tab. Here, you can customize the settings for what appears on your desktop, in new Finder windows, and in the sidebar. You can also choose the default location for new Finder windows to open.

Next, click on the “Sidebar” tab in the Finder Preferences window. Here, you can choose which items appear in the sidebar of your Finder windows. You can also customize the order of the items by dragging them up or down in the list.

If your external hard drive is not showing up on your Mac, modifying Finder Preferences may help you troubleshoot the issue. By customizing the settings for what appears in Finder windows and the sidebar, you may be able to locate and access your external hard drive more easily.

Change USB Ports and Cables

Swapping USB cables and ports

To fix an external hard drive not showing up on your Mac, one of the first things to try is changing the USB ports and cables. Sometimes, the issue can be as simple as a faulty port or cable.

First, try plugging the external hard drive into a different USB port on your Mac. If it still doesn’t show up, try using a different USB cable to connect the hard drive to your computer.

If the external hard drive still isn’t appearing on your Mac after trying different ports and cables, it’s possible that there may be an issue with the hard drive itself. In this case, you may need to troubleshoot further or seek professional help.

Boot in Safe Mode and Reboot

To fix an external hard drive not showing up on your Mac, one troubleshooting step you can try is to boot your Mac in Safe Mode and then reboot it. To boot in Safe Mode, restart your Mac and immediately hold down the Shift key until the Apple logo appears. This will boot your Mac in Safe Mode, which can help resolve issues with external devices.

Once your Mac is in Safe Mode, restart it normally by clicking on the Apple menu and selecting Restart. This will exit Safe Mode and reboot your Mac in its regular mode.

Booting your Mac in Safe Mode and then rebooting it can help resolve any underlying issues that may be preventing your external hard drive from showing up. If the issue persists, you may need to further troubleshoot your external hard drive using Disk Utility or other methods.

Use Disk Utility’s First Aid

Once Disk Utility is open, select the external hard drive from the list of devices on the left-hand side of the window. Then, click on the “First Aid” button in the toolbar at the top of the window.

Next, click on the “Run” button in the First Aid dialog box to start the verification and repair process. Disk Utility will check and repair any errors it finds on the external hard drive.

After the process is complete, eject the external hard drive and then reconnect it to your Mac. If the drive still does not show up, you may need to consider other troubleshooting steps such as checking the USB connection, trying a different port, or testing the drive on another computer.

By using Disk Utility’s First Aid feature, you can attempt to fix issues with your external hard drive not showing up on your Mac, potentially saving you from the worst-case scenario of data loss.

Run Terminal Commands

Terminal window with command prompt

To fix an external hard drive not showing up on your Mac, you can try running terminal commands to troubleshoot the issue. First, open Terminal by searching for it in Spotlight or navigating to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

Once Terminal is open, you can use the diskutil command to list all connected drives by typing diskutil list. This will show you all the drives connected to your Mac, including the external hard drive.

If the external hard drive is listed, but not mounted, you can try mounting it using the command diskutil mount /dev/diskX, replacing “diskX” with the appropriate identifier for your external hard drive.

If the drive is not showing up at all, you can use the command diskutil repairDisk /dev/diskX to attempt to repair any issues with the drive.

After running these commands, check if the external hard drive is now showing up on your Mac. If not, you may need to consider other troubleshooting steps such as checking the USB connection, trying a different port, or testing the drive on another computer.

Change Hard Drive Format

To change the hard drive format on your Mac, start by opening the “Disk Utility” from the “Utilities” folder in the “Applications” folder. Connect the external hard drive to your Mac if it’s not already connected. In the Disk Utility window, select the external drive from the list of devices on the left. Click on the “Erase” button in the toolbar at the top of the window. In the dialog box that appears, select the desired format for the hard drive from the “Format” dropdown menu. Choose a name for the drive and click the “Erase” button.

Reset NVRAM on Your Mac

After resetting the NVRAM, check if your external hard drive is now showing up on your Mac. If not, you may need to check the connections and try using a different USB port or cable. If the issue persists, you may need to consider checking the external hard drive on another Mac or PC to determine if the issue is with the drive itself.

It’s also important to check if the external hard drive is formatted correctly for your Mac. If it’s using a file system that is not compatible with MacOS, it may not show up on your Mac. You can use Disk Utility to check the file format of the external hard drive and reformat it if necessary.

Troubleshoot with Recovery Mode

If your external hard drive is not showing up on your Mac, you can try troubleshooting using Recovery Mode. First, reboot your Mac and hold down Command + R until the Apple logo appears. This will boot your Mac into Recovery Mode. Once in Recovery Mode, open Disk Utility from the menu bar.

Next, select your external hard drive from the list of available drives. Then, click on the First Aid button to check and repair any errors on the drive. If the drive still does not show up after running First Aid, you may need to consider reformatting the drive.

Before reformatting, make sure to back up any important data from the drive. Then, select the drive in Disk Utility and click on the Erase button. Choose a new format for the drive, such as Mac OS Extended (Journaled), and give the drive a new name.

After reformatting, your external hard drive should show up on your Mac. If you are still experiencing issues, it may be a hardware problem with the drive itself. In this case, you may need to consult with a professional or consider replacing the drive.

Update Operating System Regularly

To ensure that your external hard drive is recognized by your Mac, it’s important to update your operating system regularly. This will help ensure that your Mac has the latest drivers and software updates necessary to recognize and access external storage devices.

By regularly updating your MacOS, you can avoid compatibility issues and potential bugs that may prevent your external hard drive from showing up on your Mac. To check for updates, simply click on the Apple menu and select “System Preferences,” then click on “Software Update” to see if there are any available updates for your operating system.

In some cases, outdated software can cause compatibility issues with external hard drives. By keeping your operating system up to date, you can potentially resolve any issues that may be preventing your Mac from recognizing your external hard drive.

Additionally, updating your MacOS can also provide compatibility with newer file systems and disk partitioning schemes, which can help ensure that your external hard drive is properly recognized and accessible on your Mac.

Employ Data Recovery Methods

  • Use Disk Utility to Repair the External Hard Drive
    • Open Disk Utility by going to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
    • Select the external hard drive from the list on the left side of the window
    • Click on First Aid and then Run to check and repair any errors on the drive
  • Use Terminal to Repair the External Hard Drive
    • Open Terminal by going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal
    • Type diskutil list to view all connected drives and locate the external hard drive
    • Type diskutil verifyDisk /dev/disk2 (replace /dev/disk2 with the appropriate disk identifier) to check for and repair any errors on the drive
  • Use Data Recovery Software to Retrieve Lost Files
    • Download and install a reputable data recovery software on your Mac
    • Open the software and follow the instructions to scan the external hard drive for lost files
    • Select and recover the lost files to a different location on your Mac

Maintain Clean USB Ports and Proper Ejection

A clean USB port with proper ejection symbol

To maintain clean USB ports and ensure proper ejection, start by regularly inspecting the USB ports for any dirt, dust, or debris. Use a can of compressed air to carefully clean out any particles that may be obstructing the connection.

When ejecting the external hard drive, always use the proper method to avoid potential data corruption or damage to the drive. Instead of simply pulling the USB cable out, right-click on the drive icon on the desktop or in Finder, and select “Eject.”

It’s also important to make sure the USB hardware is functioning properly. If you suspect a hardware issue, try using a different USB port on your Mac or test the external hard drive on another computer to rule out any potential problems with the drive itself.

Maintaining clean USB ports and properly ejecting external hard drives are simple yet crucial steps in ensuring the smooth operation of your Mac and its connected devices.

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